Like Father, Like Son
Jordan and Matt Carroll, outside Walser Polar Mazda
It isn’t hard to see how Walser Polar Mazda Service Manager Matt Carroll found his way into the automotive industry. It’s in his blood. His grandfather owned a service repair shop in North St. Paul. Matt’s father also tinkered on cars now and again, but it was Matt’s grandfather who really lit the spark.
That same spark that seems to be burning for Matt’s son Jordan Carroll. Jordan, who is entering his senior year, participates in White Bear Lake Area High School’s Automotive (WBLAHS) Career Pathways Program. The program is an early pipeline of workforce development in automotive, business, construction, education, information technology, and manufacturing and engineering. Jordan completed his first round of auto tech classes this year, focusing on the basics.
“That was all about the service and the maintenance to do for a car. In my senior year, I’ll do Auto Tech II, which has more electrical. It’s more about the cars that are coming up now,” he said.
Jordan said other classes focus on small engines and how to tear them apart, clean them, and fix them to run. Matt said these classes are the perfect career gateway, especially for a kid who loves to tinker.
“He’s not the type of kid who looks at an engine and just says, ‘Oh cool.’ He wants to know why that pully spins. He wants to know why that piston goes up and down. He wants to know about the whole thing, and that’s really cool.”
The WBLAHS Career Pathways Program is supported by the Walser Foundation, which funds workforce development and education programs.
“I love it. I think it’s just great because even if he decides not to go into the automotive business, it still gives him kind of the nuts and bolts to be able to spend the time and the technicalities with what I don’t really have the time to do,” Matt said.
Matt said the skills learned in the school’s program are the building blocks for any young person looking at a future in the automotive industry.
Jordan Carroll was among the high school students who participated in Walser’s Bring Your Child to Work Day event in April
“You can change a lot in this industry. Just because you start as a technician doesn’t mean you’ll end as one,” Matt said.
As for Jordan, he plans to absorb as much as possible in his senior year but is keeping his options open regarding post-high school plans. In the meantime, the father-son connection over cars isn’t going anywhere.
“It all started when I was little, and it just carried on through. It’s something we can bond over for sure. Of course, that’s something I want,” Jordan said.
The pair daydreams about a dream car project they hope to work on someday—restoring a long-forgotten about Buick Grand National, sitting garage-side in their old neighborhood.
“It’s just becoming just part of the garage, and there’s, like, mattresses on top, and we keep telling ourselves, ‘You know, what is it going to take? Let’s just stop there and say, ‘How much do you want for that car?’’ Because it’d be a good car to build together,” Matt said.